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Shaving God With Occam

Whilst I was writing My Own Special Creation I mentioned Occam's Razor,...
"As we all also know, our primitive ancestor's answer of "a god did it" is far too complex - Occam's Razor shreds the “god creator” myth because of the necessity for the innate complexity of such a god.
For anyone wishing to argue "god is simple" - please!
Even thinking "I am" takes comprehension, of grammar, of personal pronouns and, for that matter, a perception of self, as distinct from something else. That's a huge amount of complexity before even getting into anything else a god would have had to think in order to think up a universe."

... I realised at the time that I was airing my conclusion on Occam's wisdom on complexity without fully supporting my thinking, so here's a proper breakdown on why I think "Occam's Razor shreds the “god creator” myth."

In the following examples, in deference to my largest group of readers, I'm using the American name for the large numbers. When the word billion is used it refers to the smaller American billion of one thousand million and not the larger European billion which is a million million. If you need to translate there's a table here.

Part 1
The Physical components of a human
That is, the bio-mechanical composition of a human that actually facilitates our physical bodies, including our heads and what's in them, every atom from tip to toe. This is a very crude, speculative, 'philosophical' calculation and, whilst I've endeavoured to source actual facts where available, what's below couldn't be claimed to be more than 'ball-park' figures 'for illustrative purposes only'.

Human body has 120 trillion components called cells ~ Prof Steve Jones "Our secret universe; the hidden life of the cell".
As we are supposed to know, (yeah, I had to look it up - it's been a long time since school) 1 atom is made of protons, electrons and neutrons and each type of atom consists of different numbers of each. I have no idea if the details at Jefferson Labs are correct, I've not run their numbers, but it seems a genuine attempt. It breaks down a human into Hydrogen, Oxygen and Carbon and then into Protons, Electrons & Neutron, which is almost exactly what I wanted.
Jefferson Lab's calculation postulates a 70 kg average human body would have approximately 7 Octillion (7*1027) atoms, which is is, 7 followed by 27 zeros : 7,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.
From that calculation they took relative percantages for the Hydrogen, Oxygen and Carbon atoms in the body and multiplied each by the proper number of protons, electrons and neutrons for that chemical.

Jefferson Lab's result.

We can take it further though. 1 Electron is made up only of itself but Protons and Neutrons contain smaller particles. A proton has 2 'up' quarks and 1 'down' quark and a Neutron has 1 'up' quark and 2 'down' quarks. So, before we can add the reduced components of a human together we must multiply the Jefferson Lab's result for Protons and Neutrons by 3 each.


6.9*1028 Protons + 5.4*1028 Neutrons + 2.3*1028 Electrons = 1.46*1029 = 146,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 = 146 Octillion physical components(at least)

Crumbs, that's a huge bagful of stuff; already an inconceivably huge number, eh?
Okay, so, on to...

Part 2
The Metaphysical components of a human
Now, what I mean by metaphysical here is not magic & mumbo-jumbo but thoughts, memories, conclusions, observations, feelings, instincts, emotions etc. i.e. The properties we've traditionally considered to be emergent from the bio-mechanical components of the brain & nervous system.
This calculation is probably even cruder than the last; ball-park figures, like I said, so don't go getting picky :P

Humans live for, let's say, 3 score years and 10 = 70 years
In that time there are 70y X 365d X 24h x 60m X 60s = 2,207,520,000 Seconds = 2.2.*1010 = 2.2 billion

According to Stuart Hameroff MD, for each second of our lives, our brains' microtubules produce 40 conscious moments. Could we say that this could also be described as "40 new 'opportunities to experience' per second"? And, thereby, that the past tense would be "each second we have lived we have logged 40 'experiences' a second"? I think that's fair so...
All those conscious moments add up to the human's lifetime of experiences that’s...
2.2 billion seconds X 40 conscious moments = 88,300,800,000 = 8.82*1010= 88.3 billion 'experiences'.

Okay, it's all a bit guessworky but bear with it, I'm trying to sketch a picture of how complex a human is after a life. So let’s take part 1's Physical result and multiply it by part 2's Metaphysical result.

146 Octillion physical components X 88.3 billion metaphysical components =
12,891,916,800,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 = 1.29*1040 = 12.9 duodecillion.

So, this example average human, measuring from its first breath to its last 'conscious moment', provides us with an overall component count of 12.9 duodecillion. We'll label that 'the complexity factor', partly because I may refer to it later but partly (mostly) because it sounds cool and I wanted to include it. :)
12.9 duodecillion is one utterly unimaginably enormous bag load of stuff and I think you'll agree, evolution has forged a massively complex being. And that's without even hinting at what quantum entanglement and superposition may do to the numbers.
Don't panic, I'm not going there.

And so the question is...
If the average human has a complexity factor of 12.9 duodecillion, a number I can't even begin to grasp, how much 'stuff' (Transcendent-Physical X Transcendent-Metaphysical) would it take to get a god-sized being? You'll notice I've not mentioned 'material' but 'stuff', that's because the creator 'god' is supposed to be 'immaterial' or 'stuff' that's not 'material'. Which, I think is equivalent to existing but not drawing its form or function from the components of our space-time but that's beside the point, which is, for it to 'exist', to be a 'being', even a 'god' must have 'form & function', regardless of the origin or nature of that 'stuff' of which it consists. And as 'a god', one has no choice but to presume, it must have a much higher complexity factor than a 'mere' human but how much higher?

Just how much more Transcendent-Physical 'stuff' is there going to be in a 'god'?

A god is the supposed constructor of an entire universe, which you know, is quite a lot of Physical Stuff. And, as this god is reputed to have magicked up all of existence from himself, one must hazard a guess that there's more T-Physical stuff in the make up of the god than there is Physical Stuff in the universe. Now, if the god was only as big as the biggest known sun in the universe "VY Canis Majoris"(See Humble - Why) which is about 1500 times larger than our own star, creating the universe would still be analogous to a single celled organism working alone to fashion and construct the International Space Station!
Further though, a God is supposed to be omnipresent so, to be 'in all places, at all times' his T-Physical stuff must be at least as 'big' as the universe but we'll take the VY Canis Majoris example, and I want to remind you here, there are already 40 zeros at the end of the amount of stuff in a human, in the case of VY Canis Majoris we're likely talking about hundreds of zeros, which, obviously, is a complexity factor that is 'way' bigger! (technical term). But that's only imagining the god to be as big as VY Canis Majoris & we must imagine bigger.
VY Canis Majoris is smaller than our solar system, occupying, estimates suggest, all the space inside the orbit of Saturn; in comparison to the magnitude of the entire universe, it is but a speck of dust. A being 'containing' the entire universe, one must assume, must be at least as complex as the universe therein so, should we not expect it to have a complexity factor that I suspect, without doing the actual maths, would be googolplexian in nature? (10 to the Googolth power = 1010100).

But are we done with our imagining scale? Or do we have to imagine bigger again?

I think we're justified in assuming any creator god must consist of more stuff than the entire amount of physical stuff in our universe. Further though, because the creator god is said to exist 'outside the universe', may we not also deduce that a higher percentage of its entire being must exist externally, with a lower percentage making up its omnipresence throughout the universe? Otherwise suggesting 'god exists outside our universe' would be an illegitimate description. To minimally legitimate that description, at least 50.00001% must be external and 49.99999% internal. For ease of calculation, like it matters now, that means we have to take our googolplex and multiply it by a factor of at least 2!
But remember, that's still only calculating to the bare minimum complexity factor of a creator god. If, as it has been mused, our universe is a single cell of a much larger being then, judging by our own bodies by way of example, we'd have to multiply our googolplexian figure by 120 trillion!

And so far we've only considered the Transcendent-Physical aspects of a creator god, so what about it's Transcendent-Metaphysical properties?

Even with our vast mental capacities, we know the average human will generally admit to not being able to work his lounge's electronic equipment or construct a flat-pack wardrobe but a god is supposed to have thinked up and created all the marvels of the universe, like Physics, so how much more Transcendental-Metaphysical stuff is it going to take to arrive at 'god'? A God is supposed to be orders of magnitude smarter and literally incalculably longer 'lived' than even the most perfectly wise and long lived human who ever lived, and that god must exist both external to the universe and all through every subatomic particle of it, so MUST experience every moment, of every inch, of all of it so...
What Complexity Factor should be allocated to so many experiences? I mean, our 88.3 billion 'experiences' divided by our 70 years then multiplied by the 13.7 billion years, 'age' of the universe, would only be a starting hypothesis! (More on why I think so in An Eon Of Equivocal Length)
Would we be multiplying our already suitable-adjective-defying, literally astronomical complexity factor by Trillions? Octillions?
Another Googolplex perhaps?
Surely, in a universe where Stephen Hawking has concluded that physics shows no need for a creator god, can such a magnitude of complexity be seen to be any more than a flight of fancy? I think not.

Many creationists bring Occam’s razor to the debating table saying "God is the simplest answer" to "How did all this get here?" but, as I think I've displayed here, a god, consisting of ALL things and then some, must by its very nature, be the most complex!
However, what is above is only a highly circuitous route to the only question that need be answered:
"Is there anything more complex than a high order of sentient intellect?"
If, as I do, you think the answer is "No" then one may only conclude that the answer of "god"(A super-intelligent being) to "how did the universe start?" is the most complex answer that can be conceived and, as such, is entirely contrary to Occam's "don't multiply beyond necessity" paradigm.

As to why William of Ockham or any of the other philosophers who reputedly penned similar statements (Ptolemy, Aristotle, Maimonides, Thomas Aquinas, John Duns Scotus) didn't notice their wise words eviscerated the fabled god?

It would be unfair to not point out that there is no way any of them could have looked at the physical world in the sort of detail science has spread before us today; I, or anyone else, would have been unable to lay out even the speculative maths above, even a quarter of a century ago. Indeed one could say that for much of our historical wisdom, if the author/speaker is not alive 'now' then they were doing their thinking in a time when ALL were deeply ignorant of the facts of both the micro and macrospocic universe. Perhaps we should weigh the value of their conclusions accordingly, as I'm sure, being great thinkers, they would want us to do. However, as I've said elsewhere, no matter the size or quality of the data from which one forge's one's hypothesis, I think it's impossible to properly investigate a subject that one has been mortally prohibited from investigating properly. So, given that all these great thinkers 'missed it', shouldn't we assume that for 'this' investigation, believing a priori that humans have an 'immortal soul' is a serious impediment?

And finally, if you're thinking all that sounds a bit like the old 'magic numbers' trick....
1. "Think of a number between 1 and 10 and remember it."
2. "Double it."
3. "Add 12."
4. "Divide by 2"
5. "Take away the number he first thought of..."
6. (IF you want to promote the idea of magic, pretend to read the subject's mind but, if you're more honest than that, just state the answer and offer to explain how it's done. No matter what number was 'first though & remembered', the answer will ALWAYS be 6) "The answer is... 6".
... so do I. I wonder why that is? :)

I'll leave you with one of our recent insights into the complexity of the universe.
Enjoy. :)

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Conscious of a Collision

This is the first post in a series on consciousness, maybe, I'm still thinking. Anyway, I thought I'd set a baseline, bear with it, I think it all comes out in the wash...

Imagine a big rock floating free in space, just sitting there, still, lifeless, not knowing anything or recording anything just existing as a rock in space, we'll call it Eric. Millenniums later another rock appears, we'll call it Ernie. Ernie has been travelling unimpeded on his trajectory at high velocity also for millenniums but this is a collision trajectory with Eric.

The collision occurs and, in the current vernacular, *BOOM*, Eric shoots off, stealing almost all of Ernie's momentum and leaving Ernie, split into two pieces; one almost stopping its forward momentum and spinning on the spot and the other smaller piece is thrown into orbit of its larger sibling.

Neither Eric or Ernie is conscious in any way; we can all agree that a rock has no consciousness, however, even while agreeing that neither is conscious in the "Here I am and I know that I am" way, one could legitimately, if loosely, describe the collision thusly...

When Eric and Ernie collided, the condition of each was transformed by the other and the laws of physics.
Eric became conscious of Ernie's momentum via the collision.
Ernie became conscious of Eric's mass when he suddenly started orbiting himself.
The Universe became conscious of Eric & Ernie's collision by way of the effects and conditions resulting from it.

On a distant planet light years away a scientist asks "Could it be that this planet's civilisation was destroyed by a meteor (Eric)?" and part of his answer, if discernible, is "the impact registered by Eric on his collision with Ernie millenniums earlier".
If we replaced the word "conscious" with the word "interaction" then when a physical "interaction" takes place the superposition of all possible outcomes is collapsed. When an interaction between two existing objects takes place in a "meaningful" way, say as is the case in the example detailed above, in an impact or collision, where the trajectory and/or condition of one or both of the objects is physically transformed by the other, each object can be said to have become "conscious" of the other. "Consciousness", in that sense, exists even where a "mind" does not. Unless or until a physical object interacts with another both objects future states exist only as potentials.
But all these events are still not consciousness (sentience) let alone conscious (awake), and this is where lack of precision in language starts to muddy the water of comprehension. We say that this or that thing became 'aware' of an event but we don't mean awareness/consciousness, as in a sentient entity. We mean 'registered' as a needle on a gauge or 'evidenced' by a chain of causes and effects, as a line of toppled dominoes; we mean the record left in the "great list of universal events" but in order to receive that exact meaning the listener must be aware that it's the implied meaning and usage. A magic believing listener may, naturally, default to what seems, because of their prior indoctrination, the more reasonable 'Sentience with a will' meaning of consciousness or "a being that's awake" meaning of conscious. Doesn't that mean that what the listener infers from the statement differs from the actual meaning because the listener was taught to expect 'agency' and so perceives an implication where there was none? I think so.

We have an innate ability for anthropomorphising objects in conversation. I think this has evolved because it makes it easier to transmit a concept if we can voice it in a way with which the listener can empathise. However, this 'teaching method' contains within it the pitfall of personifying the anthropomorphism, which then misleads, especially for a listener who is thinking 'concretely' and not in the more abstract 'formally'. Here I'd like to draw a distinction between personification and anthropomorphising, one might anthropomorphise a bouncing ball by saying "that bounces like a rabbit", whereas personification assumes the ball is acting as though it has the 'personality' of the Rabbit, for me it's the difference between an object having an attribute of life and an actual life.

To inform clearly, don't we need to be as fully aware as possible, not merely of ALL that we are transmitting but also of the listener's ability to receive? Shouldn't we be constructing sentences that deliberately avoid any accidental personification of an anthropomorphic example? Should we consider anthropomorphic examples so susceptible to personification, because of who/what we humans are, that they should be actively discouraged as a method of delivering information?
I've no answers on that, to be honest it seems so hardwired it may be irremovable but I feel we must try.

As for the universe, I see no evidence that of itself the universe is conscious or has "consciousness", as we do. I see only a register of events.
'Our' Radio waves are travelling across space, any other sentient consciousness that there may be in the universe may one day become aware of our having existed but the record of our existence is already registered (possibly immortally) in the waves 'we' made in space. In that respect alone, the universe is 'conscious' of our, or anything's, existence but the universe does not 'know' of our existence.

So, when we hear a claim like "The universe is conscious" shouldn't we all finish the sentence, not necessarily aloud, it's still a religiously oppressed world out there and we don't want to get dead so, maybe just in our heads add "in the same way as a rock is conscious of a collision."?

For those wondering, the "Eric" & "Ernie" irony was on purpose, by way of illustration. For those not, feel free to ignore this last sentence. :)

More on consciousness in Conscious of Consciousness
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All Alone In The Dark

Solipsism is the philosophical idea that only one's own mind is sure to exist.
Solipsism as an epistemological position holds that knowledge of anything outside one's own mind is unsure.

Solipsism is usually invoked to support a "You can't trust science!" line of argument, something like... "You can't be sure of anything being 'real' - anything is possible - therefore god is."
Most of us who have debated with theists will be aware of the phraseology used to deny any certainty of knowledge of that which is external to the person thinking, of all that is 'else', 'external' to 'self'. Debate seems an inadequate word for what we have to endure from much of the theistic community but anyway, I suspect most who have 'debated' will have heard... "But none of us can claim to be able to prove anything exists other than our minds." They always use 'mind', I think it's because it sounds more spooky and mystical. They usually conclude with what they see as the full-stop, argument winning point... "You might just be a brain!"

Now, in the head of the listener, that image of a brain forms but as all that we know comes from the physical world, we form an image of what each of us interprets it to be. Some may see just the brain existing alone, floating free in space with just a backdrop of the universe. Others may imagine a cartoon sci-fi "brain in a jar" connected to some sort of machine. And others a brain flying free, maybe a little pair cherub wings flutter as it glides through delightfully soft clouds and rainbows (Well, they might!) but whatever image we see, we see the brain.
While these are only our imaginings of what a brain existing alone may be like they do point to an understanding of the issue. Whatever we call the individual - mind, brain, personality etc. the "person" must have form. I know you could say it could be like a cloud of energy but that just changes the parameters, "cloud" is a form, "energy" is the substance of that form.
And, while that interpretation does remove the "purely physical" from the the concept of "person", it does nothing to answer "in what sort of environment does this "substance" that makes up "person" exist?"

Solipsism is, ironically, a dead-end, a wild-goose chase. It's as productive for a theist to invoke solipsism as for a dog to chase its tail! Solipsism is not the argument winning-point against the factuality of reality that theists think and promote it to be, it's just another cupboard-full of questions.
In response to "you might be just a brain" one may only proffer "Of what does this independent brain consist? What are its properties? Is it held captive by some evil being or vindictive spouse? Of what does the environment in which it exists consist? Is it on a bench in a lab? Does it require sustenance? If so, how is this achieved?" And, I think, many, many etcetera queries.

In the final analysis Solipsism still leaves us with... "And how did the universe in which the single brain exists, begin? Why does that universe exist? What was the cause for the brain to come into being?" Which are all square-1 questions.

Finally, any god that may be imagined also falls foul of the solipsism accusation...
How, Mr/Mrs theist, can you be sure that you are not just a figment of the imagination of a mind existing alone?
Or, further, prove to me or anyone, that the god you imagine exists, is not just a "brain in a jar", imagining not only your existence but also that you are currently pondering on the nature of the Jar Brain's existence? And, could you prove that without thinking up a fantastical story for how that imagined jar brain came about?

Very finally, no really this time...
Doesn't arguing for Solipsism denigrate the personalities of each and every human who ever struggled up the evolutionary ladder? Doesn't it reduce the collective effort of humanity and individual desires of each and every valuable member thereof to the whimsical muse of an entity of no importance? And, doesn't it do so ONLY so that the invoker can pretend they'll live forever?
I think it does and from there one must wonder... What is all this selfish, death avoidance pretending doing to how we(humanity) view ourselves? I mean, such a vast majority of 'us' living a life of lies and pretence in fear can't really be doing our collective psyche any good, can it?

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Absence Of Dogma

First of all, given that there are some sore egos abound at the moment, this is not a prescriptive post; as always this is an exploration and also as always, I offer only an opinion; my view of atheism and atheism activism.

Atheism is... Absence of belief in god(s)
And that's all, you can sit on your couch, dunking biscuits in your tea, just not believing in nonsense, never communicate it to anyone and you are a bone fide atheist, a fully fledged non believer in god(s).

Atheism activism is... Promoting the evidence or reasoning against the belief in god(s).
That's when, incensed at some religious statement, dictate or atrocity, you get off your couch, brush off the biscuit crumbs and open your mouth in opposition to the belief in god(s)

I personally think that that psychological step away from the passivity of a private conclusion to personal activism, automatically engenders, immediately or eventually, activism against the causes, support systems, contributing factors of theistic belief.
In the process of professing against the god(s), one encounters many religious arguments, the necessity to find solutions to their objections brings the extra understanding; it's the books humans' are taught to believe that cause the irrational disconnect.
After much debate with the dream believers of all walks of life, over decades, I have reached a point where I consider even 'making a wish' as a stone in the pile from which those who still stone people select their vile projectile. I am no longer willing to silently tolerate the injustices suffered by my fellow humans because people are unaware of the butterfly effect of their selfish need to pretend. For me, all wish-thinking should be discouraged as unacceptable.
While I am Atheist, as an atheism activist I'm also consequentially anti-theism / deism but I'm also anti-wiccanism, anti-wishing, anti-tarot, anti-paranormal, anti-psychics etc.
I'm, tentatively, "Prove it or Lose it" but, as I said earlier, that's my opinion; the position at which I have arrived after much thought. You may arrive, or have arrived, at the same conclusion but that's irrelevant to any atheism activism you choose to undertake. The core observation for which we both fight, the objective we're striving toward is a greater proportion of the population professing an absence of belief in god(s).
We atheists may perceive, and maybe rightly so, that a more rational society is our goal but, as the great majority of us come from an imposed code of conduct and life script to the freedom of thought granted by atheism, I suspect that that 'more rational society' cannot be achieved by replacing an enforced irrational doctrine with a forced rational doctrine. I feel the key must be in example rather than rote text; debate with the faithful that is at all times rational is the best example. People listening just hear a rational person making rational sense about rational codes of human practise.
It's important that children are taught to think critically and the earlier the better. Preferably, for me, before they are polluted with the magical & spooky-spooky. If we consider the process of 'thinking rationally' as a skill or hobby etc, then, if "it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert" as Malcolm Gladwell claims, one would come sooner to a position of 'expert rational thinker'. The question I think I'm trying to ask here is, wouldn't a population widely versed in and using critical thinking become a more rational society as a consequence? I think it would and in support I'd point toward the more atheistic democracies; is their citizens apparent 'level headedness' and the national level of atheism in these societies really only coincidence?
However, teaching kids to 'fink proper' is a goal that's outside atheism activism's inherent remit. As I see it the only defensible goal of atheism activism, for some time yet, maybe the next century or more, is not construction but deconstruction. To not notice that atheism activism, at it's core, is necrotising fasciitus, a wrecking ball, or TNT, is to misunderstand its nature; we the atheism activists are the carrion eaters, clearing away the putrid refuse of rotting religion - that's the gig. The role of atheism activism is demolition; We may not want to be 'defined by what we don't believe' but wishing is irrelevant.
And there is nothing wrong with demolition, it is fine and honourable profession - for those in the UK I offer Fred Dibnah.

For the rest of the world, I'd suggest each of you has a similarly necessary character who has rid your land of failures of construction, sites that have outlived their usefulness or those characters who blast tunnels for our travelling pleasure. This is a job without which it is impossible to progress to any brave new build, change of route or shiny new tomorrow.
While progress can be made, a better society can be built from the extra rationality of serving no god(s), atheism activism is about breaking down the barriers to rationality, using rationality to tear down the remaining traces of its antithesis. When it comes down to it, our message is...
"People die, that's it, get over it; we can be compassionate and add in your own time but pretending you'll see them again as succour for the loss is the folly dominion of religion, it is their attempt to be a soothing pacifier for that particularly emotional human condition. It is wrong; false hope is no hope, it's branding breeds social decohesion and people just have to get used to the idea that it was, is, and always will be pretend."
But this is not a palatable message, as realists first and foremost we, the activists, must accept that our goal is not going to be quick to achieve. None wish to give up a shiny post-death fantasy with no hope of something in its stead. The kind of change for which we're campaigning cannot be dynamic or sweeping, we have a hundred thousand years of pretending to roll back and far too many still cling to those clearly very false hopes. No, atheism activists have to patient, we are the constant drip of water on a stone that eventually will get through, one stone at a time, or at best, as a mountain stream's gentle trickle undermines a cliff edge until the giant edifice crashes down.

The questions many think are so important "Who am I?", "Why am I here?", "How, then do I live?" are, I suspect, not best answered by those focused on demolition but I think great progress has being made since 1948 and is still being made by those who continue to work for human rights issues.
I applaud their efforts for a more socially just future as I hope they would appreciate the contribution I am able to make toward a more rational tomorrow.

If you are interested @AtheistEarth has had a look at #FreeAtheism recently in his blog and, whilst it wasn't a clarification that was necessary until the recent Atheism+ flame wars, in the glow from those fires it may just be a term that's a useful depiction of the classic atheist position for those who require it.

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Atheism Double Plus Not Good

This is an extension of Atheism Plus Or Minus. An update or clarification, if you like, after a conversation with a fellow atheist about this topic.

Whilst I am for, as any of my posts will attest, equal rights, I feel that goal is best achieved by ending theism. As I see it, end theism & misogyny loses a huge platform; for me, other issues are subordinate to atheism.
My feeling is that it is misguided to call it "atheism+" as it implies there is a superior, "more atheist" faction and simultaneously diminishes "atheist" by automatically, conversely implying there exists a faction that is "less atheist". If they'd called themselves (eg)"atheist organisation for social justice" then that would not be extending the basic paradigm of atheism; it merely signifies a group of atheists who campaign for an additional cause, so no extra explanations. I feel Atheism+ will add many, needless, extra sentences to every/many atheist/theist discussion, explaining why/why not we each do/do not subscribe to the atheism+ label. I see it as an over complication and waste of precious debate time, a dilution of the discussion; much like we have had since someone claimed to have seen a mysterious man in an elevator, the business of arguing purely for atheism has been sidetracked in favour of another agenda.

If Atheism plus was put forward as a consultation document then I've given my opinion; A+ is a divisive distraction from and obfuscation of the 'cause' and, as I see it, will remain so. You, I and all of us have wasted too much time on it already.
As far as implications go, I tried to see A+ from the religioner's position; they love to infer, and the implication is there to be seen, they will see it.
I stand by my observations, whether they are right or wrong only time will tell.
Links to actual conversation

Atheism plus has already caused division.
And it is the ill-considered, paradigm changing name that has caused that division.

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Atheism Plus or Minus

The strength of atheism is in that it is, generally, arrived at individually.
I've been on-line on and off for a decade or so, seriously since 2006, but have been arguing pro-atheism since my teens.
And the one thing I've loved is the independence.
The lack of a centralised authority, the lack of others, not necessarily betters, setting standards for me.
Later since the advent of social networking I have been thrilled by the support of those atheists with specific expertise stepping in to assist with pertinent bible verses, scientific points etc when they thought it necessary to support my/our argument.
I've also been thrilled by how ready atheists are to police ourselves; it gives me great confidence to think that if I make logic boob or deliver an unintentional implication or so some other incorrect statement, there'll usually be half a dozen atheists ready to point out the fault.
(Thanks to all who, over the years, have propped up my fallibility)
The fact for me that atheism was and currently is not centrally dictated by those who "know" has been its greatest strength.
I feel that the different routes out of oppression that atheists have taken have always been paved by critical thinking; atheism is not the destination of the route to freedom, it is merely a symptom, a consequence, a pit stop on the road.
Atheism is a lack of belief in gods only and the stated list of principles detailed in Atheism+ should not be diminished to a mere "+"; it's derogatory to summarise them as such. They are each separate, valuable, important issues, which have absolutely nothing to do with atheism.
The strength of the atheist "movement" is in that is not under control, it is a prime example of how "not under control" does not mean "out of control". It is a "movement" by virtue of numbers but it is a colonisation of thought and I feel it would weaken that to "corporatise" it.
Atheism is open source, nobody owns it.

We are all already telling the same facts, speaking critically in a reasonable, rational fashion because of what we each individually discovered to be, and because of the honesty inherent in concluding atheism.
It's our honesty and lack of a uniformed cohesive message that makes our point, we have not been told what to think, we each read the religious stuff and concluded "Well, that's bollox" independently of any authority or structured, rote learning.
I feel if a 'message' is laid down, it will become a focus for opposition and a stick with which they will beat us; the moment a code of conduct for atheists exists, "You are only saying what your book tells you to say" can be directed at us. It is folly.
"I know!" said Florence
"What? What do you know?" asked Dougal, excitedly.
"We'll make a book of principles and rules fo..." she started but Dougal rudely interrupted.
"Rules? I'm not keen on rules! Rules for what?"
"Rules by which all the atheists can henceforth be known." she said, looking proudly up at the sky.
That's ironic thought Dougal, as Florence walked off to start making the list.
"And thus the cult of atheism was forged into the very antithesis of the struggle's purpose," said Mr Rusty, as he peddled by.
"Crikey, I wonder if Florence knows?" said Dougal as he scuttled off to tell her.

Atheism plus embraces all the things to which I already subscribe, merely by being an honourable human. I am atheist, I follow generally humanist principles and abide by the ideals of the declaration of human rights.
Atheism plus is a definition and authoritarian interference, I need not.
I do not, would not, object to the principles but I will not be taking the label; it's another unnecessary complication, a watering down.
For shit-sake people, stop naval gazing; take your self-obsessed heads out of you equally inclined rears and recognise. The vast majority of the public still don't understand the basics; agnostic, apostate, atheist...

Let's explain these conditions first, eh?

I posted this blog in 2012 - I can't believe it's still going on...

Jaclyn you have my sympathy.


This is one of the Too Many Questions
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My Own Special Creation

For a while now I've been tweeting...
"Almost ANY notion, including ‘nothing’, is more plausible than ‘the first being EVER was omnipresent, omnipotent omniscient, immortal and benign’!"
...which I still hold as a reasonable position to take but here's a notional kick around that I've been trying to verify. I haven't yet; if you've any thoughts, I'd be thrilled.

As we all know, from the merry dance we've led in pursuit of the knowledge, the question "where did the universe come from?" is truly puzzling; the idea that something can come from nothing is troubling to say the least. It appears to us that the universal beginnings are paradoxical; the questions scream at us... How could a Big Bang happen in nothing? What happened before nothing? What made it start to NOT be nothing?
As we all also know, our primitive ancestor's answer of "a god did it" is far too complex - Occam's Razor shreds the “god creator” myth because of the necessity for the innate complexity of such a god.
For anyone wishing to argue "god is simple" - please!
Even thinking "I am" takes comprehension, of grammar, of personal pronouns and, for that matter, a perception of self, as distinct from something else. That's a huge amount of complexity before even getting into anything else a god would have had to think in order to think up a universe.
For a fuller explanation of why a god cannot be thought of as "the simplest answer" to the question "how did the all this get here?" have a read of Shaving God with Occam
Anyway, I've hit on a thought, which may have some merit, even though it's just a postulation based on a few weeks of trying to get my head around various aspects of Quantum theory. It isn't yet, my head, around it I mean but I've had this notion, so I thought I'd share. First things first; if any of the following seems too obvious, I apologise, I could say it's so "we don't leave anyone behind" but it's really that I've only got a loose grasp on this stuff myself....
A sub-atomic particle (photon, electron etc) = A Wave = A vibrating String (string theory)
As far as I can tell these are interchangeable labels for the same notion in physics and their usage seems entirely dependent on other factors, who is talking, what aspect of physics are being explored or discussed etc but to all intents and purposes they are the same.

We know that non-locality(1), the theory that a sub-atomic particle can exist in two places at the same time, is most likely a fact of our reality.
We know that in classical physics, time is a contingent of space. (No matter what moves between two points in space, regardless of the length of the gap between those points, it will always take time to do it)
I think we may state... where there exists no space, there exists no time. Or, to reword that statement, where Quantum super-position occurs it may not, exclusively, be occurring in "our" space-time. I think we may also state that if something exists as a "String" at a known coordinate, it cannot exist in "no time" because it is existing. And, perhaps, further infer that the string may exist at "any" point in time or, to put it another way, in "all times".
If we imagine the view of time we would have if we were a waveform, isn't "all times" just the "same" time?
I mean, when the particle is in two places at once it has not travelled, so its instantaneous transmission has happened without time.
Does that not imply that "time" is not of relevance to this "spooky" effect?
And, if time is not a barrier then trans-location to a time, in our view of time, "before or after" is permitted.
Indeed, imagining the view of time as if we were the particle, wouldn’t the whole of eternity exist as a single moment of potential? So couldn't the particle trans-locate, not just to anywhere but also to anywhen?
Especially as, without a time parameter, anywhen is always "now".
If quantum non-locality is true and "Stings" are not subject to time until they have been trapped into the causality arrow, as seems to be the case, then it seems plausible to me that they could, from our linear perspective, "travel in time".
Okay, so if "anywhen" is "true" then what?

Maybe the reason why the notion of "A universe from nothing" seems paradoxical to us is because it’s an actual paradox.
What if when the scientists at CERN next fire off their big-ring-thing, one of the particles "appears" in the very ultimate distant "when", pre-Big-Bang, thereby causing the Big Bang of the universe in which we now live?
I know what you are thinking...
"There IS a beginning but it only began because we got smart enough to begin it? But, without a beginning we shouldn't be here!" Sounds loopy, eh?
Well, if you think of it in terms of the well-known example, "the Grandfather Paradox"...
Go back in time and shoot your grandfather before he spawned your father and you would never have existed to go back in time to shoot him.
This shows us that almost any interaction by a time traveller in his own past could un-spin all of the multiverse from the point of intervention onward.
I see no reason to avoid inferring the converse of that so, by the same token, we may assume that the actions of the present/future could spin the past into existence?

Hey, don't blame me, it's just one of those thought things. I should've listened to another Janeway quote; "My advice on making sense of temporal paradoxes is simple: don't even try." but I didn't so here we are...
By Building CERN and firing it off, did we start our universe ourselves? I can't even figure out if there could be a way to discover the answer to that but the notion has solid scientific theories in support of it or, at least, more than there is for any god, which has none. And, as the notion is more than "from nothing", this "Temporal Paradox Universe" model must be seen as more probable than "nothing".
Are we then, perhaps, the "god" of our fictions? Whether it’s probable or not is likely the stuff of complex equations but is it plausible? The only reasonable answer, from this speculation, is yes.

However, maybe, just maybe, if you follow my next line of thought and if any of this actually makes sense, then maybe...
A cleaner in CERN reads this post. Next day, on a tea break, the cleaner is talking about it in the canteen. One of the Physics techs, sitting nearby, overhears and ponders on it while walking back to help firing off another tiny bullet. The original reader of this post, the cleaning staff, the canteen staff, the physics tech and anyone else to whom it has been mentioned are all thinking of it, are conscious of this posts preposterous notion; maybe they're even chuckling about it as the particle is fired.
Their collective conscious thoughts affect the particle's reaction and it trans-locates, not in space, but in time.
It "materialises" at Universal Cartesian coordinates 0,0,0,-1 : Same point in space, 13.7 Billion years and 1 second ago, our time.
The sudden injection of the "particle/wavelength/string" collapses what I think must be a super-positioned "nothing" and begins the creation of the universe in which we now exist.

Now, as the instigator of the conscious act that created the universe, wouldn't that sequence of events make me the much fawned over and hailed god of the scriptures?

And as both we and the universe are in existence, doesn't that suggest, that's exactly what did happen?
If so...
You're welcome. :D

For a more scripturally inspired, poetic rendering of this hypothesis have a read of
In The Before Is The Void

This is one of the Too Many Questions

1 A Lazy Layman's Guide to Quantum Physics

P.S. I have just learned that my 'Temproal Pardadox Universe' model is similar to the Participatory Anthropic Principle postulated by theoretical physicist John Archibald Wheeler in a radio show in 2006.
I don't know how similar they are but it's always a buzz to discover that some great thinker or other was thinking the same sorts of things, eh?
Kind of verifies I'm making some sort of sense. :)
Look it up if you wanna, I've had enough of the quantum for now - it's far too "headachey"!

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Ancient Utopian Nightmare

While clearing out the attic of our antiquated local library the other day I found a box marked with a date in the future. Inside was some stuff I couldn't identify and a bunch of scratched blue-ray discs that looked as old as the hills.
This is a transcript of the only intelligible audio recording I could retrieve...

"How did the war start, Gran?"

"A stinking book of wishes and promises, Son."

"A book?"

"Yeah, see, the followers of this book believe that every word is perfect, that everything it says should be followed by all people all over the world."

"Wow! It must be some book!"

"It's not really, Son; they're brainwashed into thinking so but it delivers nothing new or good. It's a very old document written in the times when soldiers still wore shining armour and rescued maidens from dragons."

"Wow, that's old! That's older than you, isn't it Gran?"

"Ha, it' is, Son; much."

"Did they invade in longboats, like the Vikings?"

"No, although looking at the place now, they may as well have done. No, they had it all worked out; they used their women as baby factories, to grow soldiers and voters. Vile misogynists! This wasn't the first place they came to but everywhere it was the same story; the countries into which they were migrating were peaceful, unaware of the threat. They allowed the believers to settle in their lands, shared their harvest and broke bread with them. And the believers, they quietly grew their armies and drew their plans against them."

"Where did they come from?"

"Their religion was nothing, a long dead story almost consigned to the fiction section of the library and held as 'truth' by only a few primitive tribes of a baron land, a backwoods mythology of an ancient time with little or no power, until they found they had something to sell. You might say that we paid for our own downfall. You see, they used the revenue from selling to us, to fund many reprints of the book and the resurgent peoples spread out. Over the years the population of the lands they moved to were transformed, slowly their breeding policy tipped the balance in each land in turn and the voters voted their religious and political leaders into places of power. And each country in turn changed to the dark flag of the hoard. And still the peaceful natives of the lands didn't see what was happening.
You see, Son, their own birthrate, decimated by a century of wars, needed the influx of people to replace the slaughtered; they didn't see the problem because of their bankers greed and their own economic need, they required new people and the Muddlems breeding policy meant they had many to do the work.
In May of 2022, the Muddlems took control of this land, and this was such a beautiful land, Son; rolling green hills, flower filled meadows, all the people friendly with each other. Such a shame for all that to be trampled by ignorance!
The first Muddlem president introduced a new constitution and the many Muddlem religious leaders and politicians who were by then empowered and in parliament, voted for it. Two Weeks later, on the instructions of the President, with a majority mandate from the parliament, the Muddlems installed their own religious law and the first action taken under Pariah was that all non spiritual music and dance was banned; all the once packed theatres came under the authority of the new sacrilege laws. Only Muddlem approved spiritual plays allowed. They banned music, Son! And poetry, and literature, and innovation!"

"Why Gran? Those are all nice things that make people happy, except I don't know what inovo-nation means."

"Because that's what they're taught, Son; that stupid book holds human life in a vice grip, it deems all normal human expression to be the way of evil. Their culture never produced even a single artistic work. And that word, inn-ov-ation, that sort of means cleverness; like taking something that was working okay and making it work better."

"But that's a good thing too! How can anyone be against that? I thought everyone would want things to work better."

"Me too, Son, but they think that if it isn't in their storybook, it's of no value. If only their idol, Muddlehead the Stupid, had blown on a Tuba or embalmed a shark or something, maybe they'd not have been so hatefully opposed to freedom of expression.
It puzzled me at first, I used to wonder, 'If these Muddlems believe art, literature, dance, music and innovation are 'wrong', why settle in a country whose entire history is of highly valuing those very things?' The 'Why' became clear to me on the day of the first fire; destruction, Son, destruction of all the things we value, that's why a people migrate to a country whose values they hate.
Some say the fire, in what was surely the greatest of all libraries, was government instigated, some say it was fanatical hotheads but by that point I don't think you could have put a razor blade between those two groups. And then it spread like a virus, not just in the main archive library but in dozens, on the same day. Then, over the space of the weekend, almost every library in the country was destroyed the same way. Shortly after, academics known to oppose the teachings of the Muddlem book, those on record as calling it 'baseless nonsense' for holding as fact, as it still does, that which our great scientific endeavours have long since proved false, were 'collected' and detained in the 're-learning' camps that had constructed around the country to 'help the confused'.
It was appalling to watch, the dreadful backslide of humanity into a savage primitive belief system is, as I see it, by far the worst travesty in the history of humanity. All the great effort to comprehend the universe, all the skills deployed by workers, artisans and artists, all destroyed. All of our hopes and dreams trampled under the newly jackbooted product of an ancient totalitarian warlord. All progress halted in favour of sycophantic mumbling! I wept on the day the libraries burned, Son, I don't mind admitting it."

"Why did they do that, Gran? That's not just nasty, that's stupid!"

"That's what they're like, Son. They're so addicted to the idea of the promises in the book, they think its information alone is all humanity needs, that it's the only book needed. Mad fucking savages!
We, who could see it coming, had warned of the likely outcome of allowing those 'born' of ancient thinking to integrate, unprepared, into an established 21st century society but this land's peaceful people wouldn't listen, couldn't hear, just couldn't believe that such a plan even existed. They couldn't accept that a people promoting what they called a peaceful religion could not have noticed that their book's plan of global domination, is exactly the plan of a tyrant, oppressor or super-villain."

"Stupid people; they should have listened."

"They should've, Son, but they weren't stupid, they were just peaceful; they knew that any aim of global domination is the opposite of the way to peace and they naturally assumed that all normal, peaceful people would know that too. They were not prepared for the barbarism of the neo-ancient mind. No, Son; it was the politicians who were stupid. Their all-inclusive policies took no account of the fact that the Muddlems had not moved on from ancient times; they were fair minded liberal politicians of a fair minded liberal people, they thought 'people are people'. Now, that's understandable in a person who is not in power but for a person of authority, of responsibility and supposed leadership, to be unaware of the conflict that's likely to be the product of combining two periods of history in one land, is inexcusable. Yes, the leaders inaction, cowardice and inexcusable incompetence let this war happen. Now, whether the arms dealer shook hands with politician or not, only future historians will be able to tell but one things for sure the arms dealers rubbed their hands with glee at the prospect of another civil war in a previously peaceful nation. So the people weren't stupid, the leaders were stupid for not informing them properly of the threat of this ancient book's followers.
The general population finally started to take notice when, in the following month, all the museums were closed. All works and exhibits that offended the ideals of the book were hauled out and hurled into the sea, the Muddlems began dismantling monuments and sculptures, usually to a baying Muddlem crowd, screaming praises to their god, Allan the Bowelless. When the ancient great stone circle was dragged unceremoniously away to be made into one of the Muddlem mindrot towers, groups formed, a beginning of a resistance but the Muddlem government was in total control of the army. There were defections and after a few months of bloody street to street fighting, the country split into two warring factions, the original natives and the new Muddlem power.
Your Granddad was killed in the first day of actual fighting; the beginning of the civil war. Someone left a baby on our doorstep. Your Granddad heard it crying, got out of bed and went down to see. I don't remember anything after that until I woke up a few minutes later in the branches of the tree in the front garden. I had cuts and bruises but the entire front of the house was gone. Lovely little house it was, our first and, as it turned out, last marital home. My ears were ringing. I knew there had been an explosion but it wasn't really registering. I remember knowing your Granddad must be dead in the rubble and at the same time thinking "He's just cleaned the windows, yesterday; he'll flip when he sees this!" Then I remembered your dad, just a baby in his cot. I knew immediately he was alright, I could see right through the house into the largely untouched nursery.
It's why he's deaf in one ear, though, I'm sure!
The same thing happened to another family a few days later; the Muddlems were strapping explosives to babies and rigging them to go off when lifted from the doorstep. Sick! That fucking, humanity hating book to which they cleave excuses all actions against those who do not follow it! Barbarians!"

"What had Granddad done to deserve that, Gran?"

"I don't think he actually did anything to anyone ever son, he was a truly peaceful chap, your Granddad. I just think someone found out he didn't believe in gods. Or it could have been me, I'm atheist too and was a member of a humanist group. Or it could have been your great uncle who rented a room from us; he believed in a different god."

"Wow, that's all? Just because of that?"


"That's Nuts!"

"Ha! It is, Son; that's exactly what it is."

"When will the war end, Gran?"

"Who knows? They think it will end when all the World bows to the Muddlem god, Allan the Bowelless, but it won't. You see, the problem is he's pretend so his messenger, Muddlehead the Stupid, the one they say wrote the book for Allan, can't 'come back' like they want. And the psycho 'enforcers' of his doctrine will take his non-appearance to mean that followers are not showing enough piety, in some country or another, and they'll enforce stricter adherence, to the letter of the book. But their idol still won't appear because he'll still be pretend. So then there'll be an inquisition and the world will be sucked back into the same dark void it visited once before.
So, when? I think it'll be a while yet, Son, but I'll tell you what, WE'll end it.
10,000 years ago our ancestors cleared this land of the wild and vicious beasts. Then they cleared the thick thorny forests to form a nation so green and pleasant. Then they fought off endless invaders to protect what they'd achieved. And all of it, Son, all of it was accomplished while encouraging civilisation, peace and innovation.
We've done it before and we, your mum and dad, and you, your sisters and your sons and daughters and the thousands of others like us still left, will clear it again but it's a much tougher fight than we needed to have. If only the politicians had listened, if only they had not been in cahoots with the arms dealers, if only they had taken note of the psychology of the Muddlem hoard as they destroyed historic monuments in other countries then we, you, would not have to live in war, or this cave, come to that. But like I said, we'll clear 'em out and this time we'll destroy every copy of that heinous ancient supremacist document. We'll win, Son, right is on our side and right always wins against wrong, eventually."

"I hope so Gran."

"Me too, Son, me too. Now, come on, it's late, off to sleep with you and tomorrow I'll show you how to make a pipe bomb."

I'm really glad it's only fiction.
Just to be on the safe side though, to make sure it doesn't ever happen...

Anyone fancy a bit of a pray?
Or, maybe I can tempt you to a little wish?

Fair enough. :)

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An Eon Of Equivocal Length

Before we get weaving, a word or two on my use of a term in this post...
The religious claim there is a being who started all and controls all and, further, claim for this being the attributes of Omnipresence, Omniscience, Omnipotence. Whilst they also include the more romantic concepts of Immortal and Eternal, I see these as implicit in Omnipresence; all 'locations' being a temporal as well as spatial reference. Omni3 is my reference term for the supernatural being commonly known in many works of fiction as 'God'. I see Omni3 as a better description of the subject than their partisan, emotionally charged and arguably sexist label. I think it denatures and distils the subject to better examine its structure. Anyway I'm giving it a whirl, let me know what you think.
And so, to the post...

The religions maintain that Omni3 is eternal, 'has always been and will always be' but, as there is no way to discover the truth of the claim 'will always be'(1), my initial question is 'always'? By what scale are we measuring 'always'? How long is 'always' so far?
We know that approximately 13.7 billion years has passed since the Big Bang is reputed to have been at the heart of the matter, so to speak, but how long before that first cosmological event does 'always' encompass? In short, how old is the Omni3 character the scriptures depict?
As there is no way for time prior to the universe's beginning to be measured,(1) we humans have ascribed the longest period of time we can imagine and conceptualise it as the very fuzzy 'A very, very, very, long time indeed'.

I'm pondering this because, for me, the idea of Omni3 existing prior to the creation of a universe for a segment of eternity that could be termed 'forever' is unthinkable. I'll get to 'why' later but now the question becomes; regardless of by what scale Omni3 measured time, and without getting into 'without space there is no time', how long did Omni3 wait before creating the universe? While I realise merely assessing that, is already not 'straight forward', it's further complicated by perception...
Think back to when you were six and your parent said you'd have to wait ten minutes before you were allowed to do something you really wanted to do; those ten minutes would pass really, really slowly, but when you're adult those minutes can pass in a flash. Or, as an alternative view of time passing, when you don't want something to come around, dentist appointment maybe, the time can fly by.
The point is, the passage of time for conscious beings is about how distracted we are by current events from any event, significant or not, that is scheduled to occupy a future point in time.
So then, when NO future events were yet set, how long would it have seemed to Omni3, from when Omni3 became conscious of its own existence to the beginning of the universe? If time had not yet been 'invented', would Omni3 even have perceived time passing?
However, as I've no idea how to even begin speculating on those questions we'll ignore them for the purposes here and concentrate on the 'simpler' query...

If there was a period from 'consciousness to creation' one must ask the question 'what was going on for that period of 'time'?
And the longer the pre-creation 'forever' one imagines, the bigger the question becomes...

Omni3 becomes self-aware and 1 second later thinks...
"Oi vey, this is a shade dowdy & bland,
I'll create a universe (or 11), add frill or two, here or there and some fluff, maybe?"

Of course, Omni3's not thinking it in English! I don't really know what language an Omni3 would create before he created anything or, more to the point, why Omni3 would create a language when there's nothing for Omni3 to label or indeed nothing to which he could communicate the meaning of that label but anyway, veering back from that sidetrack, if we apply different time periods to the same sentence.
Omni3 becomes self aware and 7 days later creates a universe.
Omni3 becomes self aware and 7 years later creates a universe.
Omni3 becomes self aware and 7 decades later creates a universe.
Omni3 becomes self aware and 7 centuries later creates a universe.
Omni3 becomes self aware and 7 millenniums later creates a universe.
Omni3 becomes self aware and 7 million years later creates a universe.
Omni3 becomes self aware and 7 billion years later creates a universe.
Omni3 becomes self aware and 7 trillion years later creates a universe.
You see how ridiculous it gets; the longer that 'eternity' goes on for, prior to Omni3 getting out the plasticine to start doodling people, the more 'time' there is to fill!
With...? What?
I mean, all alone in the dark void, what was Omni3 doing? Twiddling his or her non-corporeal thumbs?
We can be sure Omni3 wasn't humming the 'Self-preservation society' because still yet to be invented were The Italian job, Michael Caine, Gold bars, long drops and, most importantly, humming!
So, what was Omni3 up to?

Also, the longer the pre-creation eternity is, the less amazing Omni3 becomes...
You could look at it like this - "You know what, Omni3 is brilliant; only taking 7 seconds to imagine and implement 'creation'!" but with the other end of the time scale above you'd have to conclude "This Omni3 is rubbish; it took longer to get around to dreaming up 'creation' than for humans to evolve!"
The longer eternity gets, the more rubbish the Omni3 starts to look!

No matter whether one's god is a full-on authoritarian despot, as depicted in the theistic Torah, Bible & Qur'an, or the 'hands-off', 'creation spark-plug' of the deist, the question looming large is 'how long had Omni3 been awake before pressing the big red start button'?
To flippantly answer 'always' is not a satisfactory response.

However, that's only looking at 'time', only a single aspect of the deity conundrum.
If we apply the time paradigm above conversely, one could muse that if Omni3 has only been self-aware for 7 seconds before dreaming up creation, with no experience of anything, what consideration was really afforded to the really important stuff?
On what did Omni3 base the creation plan? What was the basis for comparison?
See, if there was really nothing before, no stars, no planets, no society, no parents, no prayer, no custard, nothing, then all of existence is based only on the imagined musings of a being who has no experiential connection to anything we know and love! You know how you feel about your parents, children, friends, your favourite pen or custard but what prompted Omni3 to imagine these things?
Why would a "Bastard only-child" think up parents?
(Not that Omni3 is reputed to be a 'child' of anything but you get the idea)
I mean, quite a lot of the time, we base our respect for each other on how much knowledge, understanding and experience we each display, our wisdom, maybe. Now, with the best will in the world, whether an Omni3 has been conscious for only a few nanoseconds or for an 'eternity', the fact that for that chunk of that 'forever', Omni3 has existed in a void with none of those valuable things, so the question becomes...
What measure of respect can one truly have for such an un-wise being?

Finally, as an extra twist of the thought screws, if, as they pretend, Omni3 is a 'perfect being' its imagination must also be 'perfect', so everything Omni3 imagined could be exactly as if the Omni3 had created the universe(s) without it ever having to be created. So, as you may have guessed, the question becomes 'why then go to the trouble of actually creating said universe(s)?'
Come to that, how would we know the Omni3 had created it?
If You, I and the distant stars all exist only as a figment in an Omni3 muse, how would we know? I mean, what difference would it make to the nitty-gritty of living; the brain that is me likes custard, whether I and the custard consist of matter or not, one might say, no matter what.
Moreover, why would an 'immaterial' being create 'material'? What could prompt the Omni3 to think up 'matter', anyway? (the answer, it seems to me, is nothing could have prompted it because there was nothing.)

So once again, no actual answers, as always an evasive li'l critter that darned illusive Omni3, eh?

(1) See the 'Eternity' exploration in 'Impossible Six'
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You Are Not Special

You Are Not Special Commencement Speech from Wellesley High School

Utterly brilliant, fabulous honesty and not a single hat-tip to stone age fears.
Heartiest congratulations, Mr. McCullough.

Wouldn't it be great if all teachers were of this calibre?

Sadly, some are far from it - Faith School Menace
this is a link to UK 4oD - it may not work for everyone but there's a description to what I'm eluding, here.

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In Praise of Idleness

In Praise of Idleness (1/3)

In Praise of Idleness (2/3)

In Praise of Idleness (3/3)

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A Question Of Conscience

Hey, religious dudes and dudesses, I have been atheist for about forty of my forty-seven years, so the ways of religion were rolling off my duck-like back before they really got hold and I've been out of the spiritual soup so long now I can barely remember what is feels like to wear that coat of just one colour.
So, I have a quandary about your religious ways.
I reckon it's probably not an easy one to tell the truth about and I'm unsure if you'll be able to honestly answer, even though it's just a hypothetical ponder.
Anyway here goes, I'd really like to know how you would react if the following paradigm played out...
On your pillow when you wake tomorrow is neatly folded piece of obviously ancient but beautifully pressed parchment with your name magnificently inscribed in actual gold upon it. It is a note from Yahweh, God, Allah or (insert your chosen deity here) and you know it's from your one and only "big-chief mighty wishes" because everyone else in the world got one too and they ALL say the same thing.
Dear (insert your own name.)
After a great and careful consideration of the terms of my contract, I have determined that eternal paradise is no longer on the menu for the great majority of humanity. I have the ones I want; I like Leonardo, Einstein, Socrates. I've had some great laughs with Elvis, George Carlin and Mark Twain's a hoot!
Yeah, I know, they should all have gone to hell but if I hadn't rescued them, I'd be stuck with all those mind-numbingly boring sycophants! I tell ya, sometimes it's like heaven's had a zombie apocalypse but enough of my woes, and back to yours, lol.
Heaven's off the ticket for almost everyone; let's say, if your not as spectacular as Old Jo', that's J.S. Bach to you, then you're furnace fodder.
Sorry about that and all but hey, what ya gonna do; I'm the big boss and it's been my shindig since I created day one. I mean, none of you puny humans can prove you're not merely a figment of my imagination, anyway!
So, where was I?
Oh yes, keep up with the commandments because you really invented most of them yourselves anyway.
Good luck, and Peace-out,
Your ever 'loving'
Super-special, Super-daddy
(or whatever it is all you arse kissers are calling me now).

To be precise, if your god removed the promise of a pair of wings and an eternal lease on a comfy cloud with a to-die-for view, would you still follow and spread the 'good' word?

Now, don't give me any nonsense about "God wouldn't change the rules", we all know your god's first rule change wrath was global genocide via flood! And then his second change of heart was a complete rule rewrite courtesy of the Roman Catholic Church. They're his rules after all. And, when it comes down to it, your god's reputation is ALL POWERFUL (Omnipotent) so, if you are of the opinion he can't change the rules then you are suggesting that that's something outside your god's power, which denies his omnipotence! You can't have it both ways!

For me, as an atheist, it's a moot point; my conscience is built from empathy and my prize, therefore, is the smile of my fellow human (awww, yeah I know, sickening but it about covers it) but for you, the non-freethinker, if you would choose the same 'path' and continue to obey the previously, 'divinely enshrined' rules then isn't that evidence that you, as I and millions of other freethinkers across the world, are entirely capable of being good without god?
Further though, if you decided you would not continue with the dictates of whichever brand of authoritarian manifesto to which you are enthralled, then surely, must you not conclude that you are ONLY being 'good' because of your scripture's delicious looking carrot and whippy-whippy stick?
Now, to me, that's not 'a good conscience' but the valueless obedience a slave would employ as a survival technique.
So, come on, I'd really like to know, would you follow the path without the prize?

And as an extra final spin on the ponder...
If, in answering the question above, you would choose to 'be good', I'd ask you the same question you've been asking atheists for decades... "what reason would you have to be good without god?"

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System Of Abuse

A recent headline detailed cases of sexual abuse during 'spiritual cleansings'...
Second woman raped during 'spiritual cleansing,' officials say
A man charged in April with raping a woman in a Santa Ana motel room under the pretense of performing a "spiritual cleansing" involving raw eggs has been charged with sexually assaulting a second woman using the same ruse.

Alberto Flores Ramirez, 36, allegedly met his first victim on an online dating site and lured her to the Aloha Motel by telling her he could help bring her children to California from Mexico.

The victim told authorities that the man said he would perform "a spiritual cleansing on her to get rid of her negative vibes," according to the Orange County district attorney's office.

Ramirez is accused of rubbing raw eggs on the victim's body and fondling her and then sexually assaulting her. A second victim came forward after seeing reports of the first case on a Spanish-language television station, authorities said Friday.

The second women allegedly told investigators that she also was lured by promises of a "spiritual cleansing" and met the suspect at the same Santa Ana motel in February.

Los Angeles Times - L.A. Now

So the question is why were two young women so easily duped; why were they so gullible that they could be convinced they could be cured by magic & mumbo-jumbo? And, furthermore, why did they think they needed curing in the first place?

We must lay at least some of the blame for this abuse at the pages of the religious texts.
Throughout religious books we find the fallacious information that humans are born valueless, in 'sin', that the completely natural human urges, we all have, are to be discouraged as intrinsically 'dirty'.
The religious texts preach that YOU, I and these poor women were ALL born rotten.
I ask you, is it possible for someone to conclude, "I need cleansing," without being repeatedly told, for their entire life, "You are dirty"?
If their spiritual instruction had not included such humanity hating claims or if their family and friends had ridiculed the offensive disparagement contained therein, would 'dirty' have been something they would have termed themselves?
If they did not think their souls were already to some extent 'damned to burn in hell for eternity', would these women have put themselves into such a dangerously exposed situation?
If there was no all Pervasive Fallasphere and we had an absence of religious oppression and 'subjugation to the books', could these poor women have been duped in this way?

And then to examine where these victims got this notion that they have a magically eternal, if sinful and inferior, invisible body part in the first place? Again, that would be the fault of these loathsome religious texts; each one purporting and supporting, in it's own supremacist ways, the notion of a shit-stained death-escape pod.

But are the scriptural fairy tales the only institutions of control that are guilty, in some part, for this abuse?
It's reasonably obvious that if, via standard school education, the victims had been made aware that the spiritual bollox is flummery to hoodwink the stupid, they'd not have become vulnerable to this monster's mythological construct but also, and perhaps more importantly the monster, similarly enlightened, would not have thought it up or at least not considered it as having a chance of working.

Now, I'm not condoning anything here but who is to say what is the supernatural effect of this magic egg massage ritual? Or can speak to its likely efficacy?
It is, I understand, a widespread practice among the superstitious of South America.
Can anyone truly deny that he has done what he said? What proof would there, or could there, be that he has not cleansed their 'souls'?
Does anyone have a mucky-ghost detector? A 'shiny-soul-o-meter'? Does ANY church or religious body have such a device as could define the cleanliness of a human's scripturally depicted Casper? Can anyone prove these women did not get exactly the service for which the asked?
Can anyone prove that the procedures he carried out are not 'the' way to spiritually cleanse a human?
I'm not saying they are, just that can anyone prove it?
The body part that the religious pretend they have is undetectable, so without evidence to the contrary, one may only assume that its 'cleanliness condition' must also be undetectable, so how can it be legitimately claimed that the undetectable filth on their undetectable body part has not been removed, improved or cured by this monster's ritualistic interference?
I think you'll agree that while the body part which he claims to cleanse is undetectable, it cannot be legitimately claimed that he as failed so to do. His or anyone's claims for this magic ritual have just as much validity, as the claim of the invisible body on which it is supposed to have effect or, indeed, the claim that the 'Casper within' somehow got scuffed and muddy merely by climbing into its human husk.
The point is...
ALL spiritual belief enables spiritual extremists and predators.
While the faithful believe the irrational as fact, irrational acts of faith are inevitable.

Surely, if one interprets groundless fantasy as reality one may not then legitimately complain when another interprets the fantasy differently that their view is groundless.

I do not wish for this man to be released, he's clearly a predator and should not be allowed to prey on the stupid but really, while the soul remains in the realms of unproven fantasy, how can any actions taken upon it be seen to have failed or succeeded?
Would that not require proof of 'spirit', proof that 'spirit' is capable of holding the property of 'cleanliness' and proof that the victims' 'spirit' condition was 'unclean' or less clean before the attacker's interference?

There's no denying this is a vile attack on two stupid women but the attacker was aided and abetted not only by the anti-human agenda of the books, the publishers and teachers of the books and the religious friends and family who, with every prayer, support the religious books' derogatory view of humanity but also by the state education systems, which completely failed, for fear of upsetting the already hoodwinked and the massively powerful magic lobby, to deliver a proper, well rounded education and lastly, and leastly, the women themselves, who are guilty of letting themselves fall foul of the fallacious hope of heaven carrot and fear of hell stick.
Whilst this crime was committed by a single individual, the conditions in which it was conceived and perpetrated were engendered and facilitated by endemic failings of our society to properly address the fallacies that are nourished by these vile manifestoes of subjugation and, with that in mind, can he really be said to be solely responsible? And with that in mind, where does the ultimate responsibility for the conditions of the crime lie?
For me...
The buck stops
at the books.

In conclusion, shouldn't we be attempting to bring an end to doctrines based in the irrational belief that 'if you don't live in permanent state of groundless fantasy you are valueless'? Shouldn't we be doing much more to rid humanity of this destructive cultist thinking?
You can probably guess what I think, although, if you've read my earlier posts, you'll not need to guess.

Another, strikingly similar, news report of the 'system of abuse' in action -
"A psychic is facing jail after he was found guilty of duping young women into performing sex acts."

BBC News - 22 June 2012

More religious insanity perpetrated on the innocent in...
His Blood On Your Hands
The Cost Of A Ticket To Heaven

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Grasping Free Reality

Is it not time to leave behind the primitive savagery of pretenders in paradise and peril?
Is it not time to leave behind the religious?
Should we not step free of them?
We are Free thinkers, should we not now choose to live free of their fake chains, their primitive tribal barbarism; to let then fall by the wayside, the way the Neanderthal, as when we first awoke?
Human progress would stop if there were no scientists and from all the studies they are almost exclusively atheist. The theists would choose to drag us back to the Bronze Age or further, to subjugate and repress all who prefer to live in the now and tomorrow rather than wallow in the nostalgia of times that never where.
Should we not set up a country, state, island or city of the truly free, of atheist, rational, reasonable, logical and liberal progress? Should we not cast aside those addicted to dreaming of the impossible, the magics and superstitions? Abandon them to their Bronze Age medicine, science and thinking?
Should we not set up a Democratic Republic of great thinkers, reasoned men and women?
We already run the world but as slaves to their base primitive savagery, why not withdraw our labour and use it for the betterment of a truly sentient humankind?
Would it not display how much those, who are subservient to ancient fairytales, owe to those who use only reason?

Oh what a place of great wonders we could create.
We could be, in the future, what we dream the Atlantian society may have been; a race, free of the great weight of fearful existence and distinguishing ourselves in great achievements.

I don't know about you but I'm sick of trying to educate those, whose misjudgments and poor assumptions, our education systems have failed to correct and, sadly, all too often encourage. Whilst attempting to rid our fantastic species of it's endemic addiction to subservience is a worthy pursuit, I'd prefer to spend my time on something which will bear real, tangible, progressive fruit.

We, humanity, will not flourish further while the primitive drag us backward.
The stars are out there, we should be responsible and prohibit the doctrine addicts and wish thinkers from reaching for them; we need not pollute the universe with their barbarism, we need not let them infect any other intelligent species we may meet with the pitifully low opinion of humanity the festering religious canker continually spews.

Unfortunately this utopian dream of a rational nation is currently, and for some time to come I fear, mere folly.

Say it came about, the rational peoples of earth came together and headed for, for the sake of argument, Australia, to start a new community of the godless, those who accept reality without the magical dictator of the religious novels. A society dedicated to study and genuine human progress, unhindered by Ancient magic and myth, what would happen?

Well, the countries of the world would begin to crumble, societies would fail without the atheist. Many great thinkers would be absent from their countries of origin, specialists in their field from all areas of life would be missing. If statistics are true about 97% of scientists would leave etc. You get the picture, the cream of each society's minds would be absent, leaving the countries to the lesser thinkers, the fearful doctrine addicts and superstitious.

And what then?

Wouldn't that land of the Freethinkers be instantly the target of their armies?
Wouldn't an island of human reason in a sea of faithful, instantly become the target because all the religious totalitarian doctrines clearly hold unbelievers as Satan's spawn?
Would they not view the island of the free as a place to destroy?
Would they not be told by their zealot leaders, the popes and ayatollahs, that removing this one nation would be doing the work of their god; that "The messiah cannot return, dragging the heaven behind him, while that country remains" or some other such voodoo bollox?

You know they would, because you know that's the supremacist core of the books they adore.
In one fell swoop, would the religious not eagerly agree to destroy all the finest brains our genome has currently spawned?
Might there not even be an arms race between differing cults to wipe us out first, thereby ensuring it would be their personal messiah was the one to show up?

Can I get an...
"And thus they would have proved their moribund stupidity; the reason why we left"?
But of no great comfort is being right when You are the slaughtered, eh?

Although I do 'have a dream' of a godless world, free of Stone Age thinking, I think it's probably better for us all if we are hidden in plain site, amongst them.
Yes it's like living amongst untrustworthy zombies.
Yes they are fucking infuriating wastes of our time, our thinking time, but while we are amongst them they cannot destroy us en-masse. We may lose the odd one or two to beheading, stoning, persecution etc. but the noise will continue and the youth, who like to break the mould set by their parents, will start to see our entirely material reality for what it is.

I just hope that we reach a critical mass, where the majority are non-religious in less than a century, before Aubrey De Grey's prediction comes to pass.
If we are still suffering under their earthly idols, popes and Ayatollahs when Aubrey's prediction comes about, we could have religious leaders who could live for a thousand years or even indefinitely.
And then what would there be to stop theocracy becoming the hell on earth that it has always threatened to be?
Aubrey's prediction should be a clarion call, not only to all anti-theist and atheist activists but also to ordinary atheists, appeasement atheists, religious collaborators and agnostics, to step up the argument against thousands of years of unsubstantiated subjugation and fear-mongering.
It's time to grasp freeality before freedom of thought disappears under the jack boot of one hoard of vile authoritarian theocratic savages or another.

Aubrey de Grey - TEDx Oxford


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This post was first published as a guest post at dailyworldwatch


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